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Global solidarity ideal for tackling of challenges

17 Sep 2023

Global solidarity and international cooperation are the substantive ingredients in tackling the world’s major and emerging challenges, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has said.

Addressing the G77+China Summit in Havana, Cuba, President Masisi said complex as it may be, developing nations had to disentangle from social, economic, political, physical, and geographical issues.

He expressed delight to have joined Presidents of the G77 and China to deliberate on the present development with the view to finding solutions through the adoption of science, technology, and innovation.

He said there were multiple challenges currently faced by G77 members in particular the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, thereby exposing the digital divide between the global north and global south, now more than ever before.

The theme of the summit underscored the vital role that science, technology and innovation could play in shaping the future, as such President Masisi said it was imperative that the era of many challenges called for harnessing the power of science, technology, and innovation to propel G77 members towards sustainable development and prosperity.

“We must foster South-South collaboration and partnerships. No single nation can address the challenges we face in isolation. By sharing knowledge, expertise, and best practices we can leverage collective intelligence and find innovative solutions that transcend borders,” he said.

He said collaboration also extended to fostering a conducive environment for research and development, protecting intellectual property rights, and protecting technological transfer to breach the digital divide.

Dr Masisi said it was without doubt that there was unprecedented growth in the role of digital technology in the global economy offering significant opportunities towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

He emphasised the importance of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation for the attainment of SDGs, which included employing science, technology, and innovation as key to alleviating challenges faced by the world.

“As we move closer to 2030, stronger multilateralism and intra-national cooperation is key to achieving prosperity for all in developing countries. 

In the same vein, my government supports the roadmap by the UN secretary general on the global digital operation to ensure that technology is harnessed for good, and its impact is managed for the benefit of all,” he said.

 He said AU and SADC member states had committed to investing at least one per cent of their GDP towards research and development and buttressed the importance of industry participation in scientific and technological endeavours towards desired developments.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic was a typical example where scientific collaboration was accelerated to develop vaccines and other medical treatments.

He said the pandemic highlighted great inequalities in scientific and technological practices globally, revealing the uneven global research and innovation landscape.

On that note, the President said developing countries, especially in Africa, needed to master that collective capacity to bridge the gap on productive research and innovation. 

“What we can do together is much more important than what we can do alone,” he said, adding that Botswana had formulated a National Policy on research, science, technology, and innovation underscoring its commitment to cultivating a coherently, coordinated national system of innovation.

He said the framework ensured that research efforts were aligned with the national priorities towards the desired economic growth trajectory.

Due to Botswana’s significant mineral wealth, Dr Masisi said the country had transitioned from being one of the world’s poorest nations at independence to achieving the status of a fast-growing economy. However, Dr Masisi said progress was curtailed by numerous challenges hindering the aspirations of attaining a high-income status.

Regrettably, he said like many countries in the global south, Botswana was severely impacted by COVID-19, climate change, continued high levels of economic disruptions and central inequalities.

He said the challenges had not only reversed the development gains made over decades, but had also negatively impacted the country’s efforts to achieving the SDGs.

In a quest to build a knowledge-based economy, President Masisi informed the summit that Botswana was transitioning from a resource-based to a knowledge-driven economy, emphasising a vision linked to science, technology, innovation, and creativity as espoused in the long-term Vision 2036.

In pursuit of the fourth industrial revolution agenda, President Masisi said Botswana had initiated a digitalisation programme called SmartBots to drive transformation across the economy by expediting the provision of broadband connectivity throughout the country. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Moshe Galeragwe

Location : HAVANA

Event : G77+China Summit

Date : 17 Sep 2023